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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Google results question

What would cause the following to occur?   

1.  Say I own jimcompany.net 
2.  For weeks on end a Google search for "jimcompany" pulls up my site on Google's first page of results (around 4th or 5th entry consistently)
3.  Then one day, a search for "jimcompany" shows up on page 6

Any thoughts as to what would cause this?  And how would I fix it?
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Did you use any SEO techniques previously to get your position (such as link exchanges, writing articles, etc.)?

I recently had the same experience.  I'm thinking that Google has penalized my site for having inbound links from low page rank sites or from article sites, etc.

My sales have dropped about 25% since this happened a couple weeks ago.

Sunday, November 13, 2005
Google has been becoming increasingly EVIL, from the day it promoted itself as the "don't be evil" company.  My bet is that my Gmail account will suddenly start having problems not long after this post.  Anybody who has tried to do business with Sergey Brin, especially in the early days, knows that there is hardly a more arrogant prick on the planet.  A wolf can only get by in sheep's clothing for so long.  Eventually, all of these little micro-evils will come to light. That's when the GOOG shorts will laugh righteously all the way to the bank.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
A sudden drop to page 6 generally indicates that Google is penalizing you for what they consider to be prohibited techniques or other attempts to "cheat" in order to increase your rank.
Marco Arment Send private email
Sunday, November 13, 2005
All I've done is put a simple site up.  No SEO or any prohibited techniques.  I simply created a few basic informational pages until I get my business up and running. 

I suppose I'm at the mercy of the almighty algorithm.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Here's a test: try running a search on link:www.jimcompany.com and then a search on jimcompany. Are the results similar?

I've seen it before when I have searched for product that I knew the name of. The product's resellers' sites came up page after page and the product manufactururer's own site was way down the list. The resellers just had better page rank.

Something like that could be happening with your site. Have a lot of other sites started listing or writing about your product(s) lately?

BTW, inbound links from "bad sites" won't hurt your rating. If it did then companies could set up trashy link farms trying to take down the competition.
Nick Hebb Send private email
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Is it possible that another website has gotten a higher ranking than you, causing your position in the results list to go down? I mean, when you first put your site up you would have displaced other websites in the list of results, so maybe the same thing has just happened?

Something I've found good for increasing a Google ranking is to have good sized blocks of text. Having frequently updated sections is also good - it likes finds sections that have dates on them (that are recent). It would also be useful to try and get more inbound links to your website through good sources like popular weblogs. You might also be able to submit your site to directories dmoz.org

Hope that helps.
Daniel S
Sunday, November 13, 2005
- A search for www.jimcompany.net pulls one result, my site.
- No sites are writing about me. 
- It's good to know that inbound links from low ranking sites will not hurt my ranking.

Daniel S:
- Good point about other sites displacing mine. It is possible
- Thanks for the tips on improving rank
Sunday, November 13, 2005
I have seen that happen. I don't think you are penalized. It is just that when you first created the site, Google put you in a fresh sites basket and promoted you. But this was just a temporary boast, now you are in your actual place.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
> - A search for www.jimcompany.net pulls one result, my site.

What I was saying is to put "link:" in front of your url when you do your search. The search results will show all the sites that link to yours.
Nick Hebb Send private email
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Some SEO companies secretly specialize in sabotage.

If an SEO is working for one of your competitors, they may have put your site on various link exchanges and low page rank requests, or put up a cloaking version of your site somewhere.

And Google is completely evil.  Don't be fooled.
good luck
Monday, November 14, 2005
How long has your site been up? If its less than 6 months it might be the google 'sandbox' effect. Google for an explanation (heh).
Andy Brice Send private email
Monday, November 14, 2005
Nick - sorry about that.  link:www.jimcompany.net pulls no results

Andy - Yes, my site has been up for only a month.
Monday, November 14, 2005
Andy beat me to it.  I was going to mention the sandbox.

If your site hasn't been up long, don't worry about your rankings.  Worry about your content.  Then when your site is in place, and your adding new content on a regular basis, start working on rankings.

And don't forget Yahoo and MSN for search engines too.  I know Google is the biggest, but those other sites are still viable.
Eric D. Burdo Send private email
Monday, November 14, 2005
Thanks everyone.
Monday, November 14, 2005
I set up my website in May, started with the blog, and an almost "placeholder" web page.

Then I released ViEmu (my first product) at the end of July. As soon as Google read it, it was placed on the first two pages of results for keywords like "visual studio vi emulation" (that was good). They are not heavy traffic keywords.

A few days afterwards, it started bouncing between pages 2-4 or results, and in two weeks it had dropped out of sight for those very same keywords. Out of sight meant not even on the first 20 or 30 *pages* (I got tired of checking).

Other pages mentioning the product and linking to the site were consistently higher, some even on the first page. A striking case was a review of the product from Tobias Gurock (from Gurock software, a regular JoS'er).

Thankfully, they became the main bridge through which interested customers were able to find my site.

At one moment, I discovered I had broken html and fixed that, thought it'd help, it didn't help much.

I added quite a lot of content to the site one or two months ago, in the form of articles (some of them on related areas, some on not so related ones). It helped in getting more traffic to the site, but not on getting a higher ranking on relevant searches.

It was quite frustrating to see so many pages mentioning my site come up on pages #1 and #2, and mine not even appearing on the first pages. They were all linking to my site, after all!

Last week I released version 1.3 of the product - and finally Google has raised me to result #2 for relevant keywords (right after the Gurock review). What have I done?

Probably, the most important thing has been that I have posted the product's documentation on the site. It's a very long document in a single html file, with a lot of content on vi/vim editing, regular expressions, visual studio integration, etc... it's content-heavy and almost free of links. I thought it'd also help with directing traffic from searches on related topics, but I didn't even think about the search results - I had already resolved not to worry too much abot it (maybe sandbox effect or whatever).

Not that I wrote the documentation with a SEO goal, I just decided to post it because it could only help customers and get traffic from potentially  interested people. Good positioning came as a secondary effect.

It seems Gurock's site is not older than mine, so the sandbox effect doesn't seem to be the problem. Ah, and many pages/sites with a lower pagerank than mine were coming up first all the way till now (my main site is PR4 and the blog is PR5, different subdomain on the same site).

It seems the name of the html file and the h1 header tag *do* help a lot with relevant keywords. The title tag seems to be important as well, but I had that right from the beginning.

I guess my case is probably different from other people on more saturated markets. I think I'll be experiencing that with my next product :)

Work on the product, work on the company, work on the site, all of it mainly for customers. My piece of advice is, do this, keep improving, and be patient.

Good luck
J Send private email
Monday, November 14, 2005

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